Archive for February, 2012

22
Feb
12

Young Supermodel’s Life Forever Changed (Chelsea Ancona)

A young, aspiring supermodel went on a trip to look at Christmas lights with a friend in December when her life was forever changed by walking into the still-spinning propeller of an airplane.
On Dec 3, 23-year old supermodel, Lauren Scruggs, and a friend took a single-engine plane in Dallas, Tex to view the Christmas lights in the area. The plane landed to pick up another passenger. Scruggs walked in the dark to the front of the plane to thank the pilot when she walked into the still-spinning propeller. The propeller severely cut her left hand and the left side of her shoulder and face. Doctors had to amputate her left hand as well as her left eye. She endured other cuts on her face and a fractured skull.
The pilot, Curt Richmond, is a friend of Scruggs. He left the engine running while new passengers boarded the small plane as he prepared for another trip in the air.
Richmond told air safety officials that he put his arm up and yelled at Scruggs as she tried to walk in front of the plane. According to a National Transportation Safety Board Report, he put down his arm and turned away from her when he thought she had turned to walk away from the spinning propeller.
However, Scruggs may not have heard his warning over the sound of the engine. Moments later, someone on the ground screamed ‘Stop! Stop!’ and Richmond saw her lying on the tarmac. Scruggs’ mother was inside the airport when the incident occurred and called 911.  
 
The NTSB did not find Richmond at fault for the accident, but air safety investigator Denny Kelly said Richmond is ultimately responsible because he should have shut the engine down.
Scruggs does not remember anything from the night of her accident. She knows she was in a bad accident, but she does not remember how it happened. Once she was taken to the hospital and was stable, some of her first words were, “I love you” to her mom and twin sister.
Since that horrific night, Scruggs continues to progress, along with the support of her family and friends. She has since received a prosthetic eye, and is undergoing intense therapy to recover. Scruggs is learning how to walk, dress herself and shower on her own.
According to her mother’s blog on Caring Bridge, she is doing well, but is now dealing with the emotional pain. On Jan. 27 Cheryl Scruggs wrote, “We chalked up this past week as one of the toughest yet. You would think that things would be on the upswing, huh?…They are in some ways. She is progressing well, physically, but we have now entered into working through the five stages of grief. We have experienced a little of this along this journey, but we now face it head on.”
Scruggs comes from a devout Christian family and is using her faith to help her recover from her accident. Her mom has a Caring Bridge blog for her daughter, which she updates frequently. She often adds in her posts that this recovery process could not be possible without the support of their family, friends and God.
On Feb. 7 she wrote, “We have had some good days and some bad days this past week. But what God reminded me of today is to get back to praying for myself, and for my family, that we be filled to the brim each day with the fruit of the Spirit. Living by the flesh is easy. But living out the fruit of the Spirit takes a dependence on Jesus. That’s the only way we can do it.”
Scruggs and her family recently took their first vacation since the accident. They went to Steamboat Springs, Co. for the weekend. She released pictures with her family and friends for the first time since the accident.
Scruggs was pursuing her dream of becoming a supermodel. She has a fashion blog and had interviews scheduled for New York Fashion Week.
The young, aspiring supermodel continues to adapt to her new life and, through the grace of God, accept these changes and recover quickly.
A Hope Fund has been set up to help the Scruggs family pay for medical bills and other expenses. Anyone wishing to help can visit her page at www.caringbridge.org and search ‘LaurenScruggs.’
22
Feb
12

Thoughts on Nicki Minaj (Kalie Gipson)

To get the preliminaries out of the way, let me say first that hip-hop music has never been a strong market for women. Regardless, the foundations of rap music does include some incredible female acts who are still revered today (at least by real hip-hop heads), such as Queen Latifah, Salt ‘N Peppa, and MC Lite. Over the years, many female rappers have come and gone. Some deserved their claim to fame, while others did not. Missy Elliott released a whole set of chart-toppers throughout her career. Lauryn Hill proved women could rap and sing on the same album, and she did it beautifully. Eve, an affiliate of rapper DMX, dropped consistent albums that unfortunately went under the radar. However, others like Khia, who made their name known by crafting horrible songs that essentially degraded themselves and over sexualized women as a whole. Did anyone actually enjoy “My Neck, My Back?” Speaking of degradation and over “sexualization”, one female “artist” has exploded onto the scene over the past few years and is being quickly held as the best female rapper alive. Nicki Minaj is in no way, and never can be, the best female rapper alive.

Let’s pretend we live in a society where an artist’s lyrics are important for popularity and airplay. This may be a difficult concept to grasp, but hang with me. Now let’s also pretend that a person’s image is important for the media. The media likes a woman who is conscious and self-respecting in this fantasy world I’m crafting. Now where would Nicki Minaj be in this situation? Nowhere. She would be nowhere, because her lyrics are terrible, her image is terrible, and she is, overall, terrible. Her song “Super Bass,” goes like this: “I said excuse me you’re a hell of a guy, I mean my my my you’re like pelican fly. I mean you’re so shy and I’m loving your tie, you’re like slicker than the guy with the thing on his eye.” That’s what is winning awards these days. To me, it is kind of sickening. The lyrics don’t get better. Another song, entitled “Stupid Hoe,” is just insane. I can’t mention hardly any of the lyrics to this song here because they are completely inappropriate. Even further, her verse in the remix to Big Sean’s “A$$” is one of the most horrible verses I’ve ever heard in my life. Once again, stating the lyrics is out of the question. They’re not clever. They’re not enlightening. They’re gross. This is what young girls are listening to now. This is what they aspire to be.

The main reasons behind Minaj’s fame are how weird she is, her emphasis when she raps, and her affiliation with Lil’ Wayne. Her outlandishness gives her undeserved attention. She’ll change her voice up to be squeaky or bark-like, and this causes the listener to barely understand what she’s saying. And by being in Lil’ Wayne’s circle, you’re guaranteed fame and airplay regardless of your skills. This is what propels Nicki Minaj. She’s not innovative or creative. She’s not special in anyway. She acts different because it gives her the attention that the masses can’t help but pour on to her. It makes me wonder if people actually listen to her lyrics at all. Well, she’s played on the radio constantly and is always in the mainstream eye, so she must be a respectable figure, right? It makes me angry to know that female artists like Jean Grae are barely known, while talentless gimmicks like Minaj are running the show.

Maybe she does have a song here and there with actual merit and worth. I have yet to hear it. Nicki Minaj is just an industry puppet, acting out for attention because she can. She only furthers the notion that women are objects whose main goal in life is to vie for sexual attention. Where are the strong females in this society? I know they’re out there. They’re just not welcome in the media. It’s sad that Nicki Minaj is an example for young girls to follow. I hope her fame dies down soon and she can be seen for the joke she really is. Something tells me this won’t happen.

 

22
Feb
12

Numero Group: Crate Digging in a New Decade (Bobby Steurer)

In an era of iTunes and throwaway pop songs, several record labels are emerging to dig through music’s untold past. These archival labels—such as Atlanta’s Dust-To-Digital—set out to research the recording industry from its earliest incarnations onward, transferring historic recordings to modern formats. Products are often elaborately packaged, containing liner note booklets (or, in some cases,books), artwork, multi-disc compilations, cards, artifacts and more.

Perhaps the most well-known of these labels is the Numero Group, a multi-format media company specializing in archival audio and film recordings. Founded in 2003 as a record label, Numero has gone on to release more than 60 titles—including LPs, CDs, cassettes, 45s and DVDs. The company’s mission: to uncover some of the world’s finest unknown art, spanning half a century’s worth of material.

Each production is a labor of love, with extensive liner notes, photos and trading cards packaged into every release. In addition to a narrative documentary, all products are given a five-star treatment—re-mastered and researched with high attention to detail, sounding pristine even after years in obscurity. Though past emphasis has been placed on regional soul and funk recordings (the Eccentric Soul, Good God! and Cult Cargo series to name a few), recent releases have focused on artists from the early 80’s and 90’s.

I’ve had the pleasure of checking out three Numero releases thus far: Belize City Boil Up (Cult Cargo), The Capsoul Label (Eccentric Soul), and Pressed at Boddie (Local Customs)—the latter being my personal favorite.

Released in 2011, Pressed at Boddie tells the auditory story of Thomas and Louisa Boddie– a husband-and-wife duo that ran a record press out of their home for 30-plus years. Beginning business in the mid-60’s, the Boddies accepted ¼-inch tapes from local groups of all genres, pressing them onto vinyl singles for “less than the price of a dinner roll per unit.” They continued this practice up until the early 90’s, crafting 45s, cassettes and 8-track tapes until they could no longer compete with emerging technology.

Pressed at Boddie’s charm lies not only in Thomas and Louisa’s story, but also in the sheer volume of great, genre (and decade) spanning music. From teenage soul groups to amateur garage rock, this record has everything you could ask for and more. Pressed is special in that there’s something new to discover with each listen—a treasure in each of the 17 tracks on the compilation. The fact that it comes with such a detailed narrative history (a more extensive 3-CD set is also available) makes it even better. Pressed is one of those records that never goes stale, and proves that great music stands the test of time.

For around $15-20 per release, you’ll experience some of the greatest music you’ve never heard. Numero Group doesn’t just cater to archivists though—anyone with an ear for good music will enjoy what the company has to offer.

Visit numerogroup.com today to discover what Numero is all about. It’s a guaranteed good time.

 

22
Feb
12

You’re the Cure (Brittany Bertram)

Red is the color of love; it is the color of lips, and the color of the heart. Volunteers, survivors, students, and people all around the state spent their Valentine’s Day using their lips and love to talk about matters that were very close to their heart: heart disease.

February 14, 2012 marked another successful Lobby Day for Kentuckians. The American Heart Association partnered with several people in the Kentucky community to travel to Frankfort to inform their senators and representatives about three bills they felt would greatly influence society.

“Kentucky Lobby Day is my chance to make a difference in the lives of Kentuckians. It is an opportunity to educate our legislators on important issues affecting our Commonwealth’s health and well-being and to bring them up to date on initiatives that address both the cardiovascular health and obesity levels of our citizens. It is well worth the investment of time,” said heart disease survivor, Jack Rutherford.

The main bill on which they focused was House Bill 289. This bill is in support of Smoke-Free Kentucky and would enforce the smoking restriction in public places that many Kentucky communities have already adopted. Since second-hand smoke has such a strong influence on the health of individuals, this bill would greatly decrease heart disease, which is the most predominant killer in Kentucky. In turn, the bill would save the state money because health costs would decrease due to the decline of heart disease and other medical-related issues.

Senate Bill 110 and House Bill 243 deal with the obesity epidemic and it encourages schools to allow use of the school facilities, after hours, in order to permit communities additional opportunities to be physically active. The bill would allow the schools to charge a reasonable fee and would free them of any liability issues that might occur.

With these three bills, Kentucky’s community has the opportunity to increase the quality of life for their community, improve their health, and initiate a change that will positively affect future generations.

Paul Hornback, Senator of District 20, says: “If we are going to enforce a bill that moves toward a smoke-free Kentucky, we must include language that does not take away from the freedom of the minorities. Instead of banning smoking, we need to use language that restricts smokers.” Hornback suggest that businesses should be able to decide if they would like their business to be a smoking facility or a non-smoking facility. However, if they choose to be a smoking facility they must clearly demonstrate that to their patrons. They must also inform their staff of their decision before they are hired.

Each registered guest that arrived for Lobby Day was included in a small training session to go over the bills and the points they were lobbying for. For the rest of the day, they were scheduled in meetings to share their stories and thoughts with their representatives and senators.

Senate Bill 110 and House Bill 243 for obesity look like they are well on their way to becoming enforced. Smoke-Free Kentucky has improved since last year, but there is still work to be done to done to encompass each Kentucky community in this bill.

Lobby Day is one of the several events the American Heart Association puts on in February during American Heart Month. Be sure to get involved this month in some way and share the heart health. For more information and ways to be heart healthy or for information on upcoming American Heart Month events please visit www.heart.org.

 

15
Feb
12

Whitney Houston Dead at 48 (Kalie Gipson)

On Saturday, February 11th, the music world lost an iconic legend. Whitney Houston, 48, was found dead underwater in the bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles. There were no signs of foul play and no immediate cause of death could be identified.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Whitney. This is an unimaginable tragedy and we will miss her terribly. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from her fans and friends,” stated Houston’s family through her publicist.

Investigators reportedly found several prescription drugs in her hotel room, including Xanax, but toxicology reports will take weeks to confirm whether these substances played a part in Houston’s death. Further details of her death are not being released to protect anonymity. She was poised to appear at a pre-Grammy party hosted by Clive Davis. The Los Angeles Times reported that Houston was seen acting strangely and erratically the days leading up to her death.

Houston’s rise to fame has been well-documented and her relationship with New Edition singer Bobby Brown has been rooted into popular culture. After her marriage to Brown in 1992, the couple consistently made headlines until their divorce in 2007.

It is no secret that Houston and Brown struggled with drug and alcohol addictions throughout their careers. Houston has admitted to smoking marijuana laced with cocaine and drinking heavy amounts of alcohol.  Brown was arrested multiple times over the years for DUI and was emotionally abusive towards Houston. Brown skipped a New Edition performance in Nashville to be with their daughter, Bobbi Kristina, who was hospitalized for stress and anxiety and released.

“I am deeply saddened at the passing of my ex-wife, Whitney Houston. At this time, we ask for privacy, especially for my daughter, Bobbi Kristina. I appreciate all of the condolences that have been directed towards my family and I at this most difficult time,” Brown said Sunday.

Music sales have skyrocketed since her death. The Monday following, her cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” was number one on the iTunes charts, followed by “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “The Greatest Love of All.” Her greatest hits album and the “Ultimate Collection” album were first and second on the Amazon top 10 albums chart.

Her music powered through the 80’s and 90’s and she seemed prepped for a comeback in 2012. Her death could not have come at a more unfortunate time, being found on the eve of the Grammy Awards. Consequently, the awards show was dedicated to Houston. Following Bruce Springsteen’s opening performance, rapper and host LL Cool J said a prayer for the pop singer, and Jennifer Hudson closed the show with a tribute rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” The television show Glee dedicated their Valentine’s Day episode to the songstress, and many more dedications are sure to spring up.

Regardless of her turbulent lifestyle, Whitney Houston was a musical legend and is widely considered a pop icon. She has won 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Awards, and 22 American Music Awards. She has sold over 170 million albums worldwide.

 

15
Feb
12

Many Still Upset at Komen (Angela Holbrook)

Despite reinstating its annual grant to the Planned Parenthood foundation, many Americans are still livid that the Susan G. Komen organization cut funding in the first place.

On January 31, 2012, Komen cut its funding to Planned Parenthood, stating that its company policy would not let it fund any organization under federal investigation (Planned Parenthood is currently undergoing a routine investigation by Florida representative Cliff Stearns). Once it was discovered that funding to Penn State’s research department—despite the ongoing investigation surrounding the Sandusky affair—had not been cut, many cried that the cuts were politically motivated.

“When will people realize that Planned Parenthood is not a baby killing factory?!” raged Katie Schweizer upon hearing the news. “Their programs are often the only way lower-income women can get the health services they need, such as cancer screening, birth control, and STD testing!”

Numerous conservative, religious, and anti-abortion groups applauded this move by Komen, but many others cried foul. More than $400,000 from approximately 6000 donors was gifted to Planned Parenthood in the first 24 hours after the decision was announced.

Many safe sex and women’s advocacy groups pulled their support to Komen in the aftermath, leading the Susan G. Komen Board of Directors to reinstate Planned Parenthood’s funding on February 3, only four days after the original decision was announced. Komen also released a public apology to America for the cut and promised to amend criteria for cutting investigations to involve only investigations of a criminal nature.

Many blame Senior Vice President Karen Handel for the funding cuts. During her 2010 run for the position, Handel publically stated, “I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood,” and announced her plans to eliminate all fundings for the breast and cervical cancer screenings Planned Parenthood provides.

Despite the days that have passed, the waters have yet to calm.

“I don’t care about their apology,” insists Schweizer. “I am ashamed of and saddened by [Komen’s] spineless behavior. I’m actually starting to believe the conspiracy theorists saying that the government hates and is out to get women. It seems to be true.”

“I don’t believe a word of that apology,” says Tristan Wheeler. “They were just trying to cover their own behinds and get their funding back. If they truly believed that, they wouldn’t have cut funding to begin with!”

The future of Komen is unknown, as their reputation may be permanently tarnished following this scandal. Online bloggers across the Internet have already voiced their opinions and have called for a boycott of Komen support, citing the fact that there are a multitude of other cancer-support organizations that also support medical services for the poor.

“Komen will never recover fully,” Celina Kon believes. “Their soiled underbelly has been exposed, and it ain’t pretty. Not only will they be forever linked to this debacle, but their finances will be more fully scrutinized by those suckered into buying pink M&M’s for the ‘cure’.”

Handel resigned from Komen on February 7, 2012 for reasons unknown, although most speculate it was a direct result from the pressure the scandal produced.

It is speculated that controversies like this are just the beginning of what is to come throughout this election year. After President Barack Obama’s decision to keep Plan B off of drugstore shelves, the pressure on both him and Republican candidates between the pro-life and pro-choice spectrums is expected to rise. Although Komen hoped their retraction would relieve the tension, it seems likely that pressure from both sides will only continue to grow as November nears.

15
Feb
12

The Woman In Black Movie Review (Dante Novario)

The movie starts with lawyer Arthur Kipps, played by a very reserved Daniel Radcliff, as he is about to depart to handle the estate of Alice Deblow, who was the previous owner of the Eel Marsh, a house located in the middle of a marsh that is only accessible for part of the day. Despite the people of the town’s warnings not to go near the Marsh, Arthur journeys there anyway and starts to unravel the mystery behind the Woman in Black.

The movie starts out simply enough, but quickly descends into confusion and repetitiveness. Let’s get this straight, the movie is scary. There are jump scares about every ten minutes, but it never really develops into anything truly unsettling. The movie has a lot of potential that it never truly sees out. The scariest parts of the movie could almost be credited to the locations and cinematography chosen for the film. The images of a single cross on a deserted marsh or that of the abandoned mansion will not leave the viewer’s mind anytime soon. The film would have probably worked better if its slow build had a decent pay-off at the end, instead of just throwing random jump scares at the viewers with little resolution to the story.

Daniel Radcliff nails the emotional scenes, proving that he can nail a scene given the right material, but seems to fall flat during the scarier parts. Whether he is reviewing his notes, watching children set themselves on fire or noticing that a dead spirits running at him, he seems to have the same, slightly concerned look on his face. I do not know if he was trying to portray that 18th century men were emotionless in face of their fears, but it would have been nice to see some genuine reactions to the crazy paranormal occurrences in the house.

The movie also has many plot holes that make the viewer suspend their disbelief a little too much. How did Arthur find the body of the little boy, which had been deemed “unrecoverable,” in about five minutes?  Why did no one in the town warn Arthur about the woman before he went to the marsh? Why did the woman take her revenge upon the town people, who had nothing to do with her misery? It’s the questions like these that will leave the viewer not fully satisfied with the conclusion and the reason why this movie will likely not fall into the horror-hall-of-fame category.

If you are looking for a movie to go out and have a little fun getting scared at, then check out The Woman in Black. It’s a pretty decent popcorn flick which is teeming with jump scares. Although it never lives up to its full potential, it is not a waste of time and can still be appreciated for the haunting imagery and suspense that it brings to the table.